A Green Dream Deferred
Scientists Agree: Wood Isn’t the Green Fuel of the Future
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  • B-Sabre

    The scientists’ letter to Mr Davey says nearly 90 per cent of southeastern US forests are privately owned and there are few regulatory safeguards to ensure harvested trees are replaced by sustainably managed new forests.
    To the liberal mind the solution is obvious – take the privately owned and manged forests and make them public/governmenta owned forests. That will guarantee that they will be run sustainably….

    • Boritz

      Taking ownership isn’t necessary. Legislation boosted in the short term by executive orders (that distinction seems forced now) should produce the correct behavior. Actually that is taking ownership.

  • Andrew Allison

    Why is it obvious that private owners will be tempted not to manage forests sustainably? In point of fact, much of the “forest” in the southeast consists of farms of fast growing trees used for construction, all those cardboard boxes from Amazon, etc., not burned. The farmers have every incentive o manage them sustainably. The ancillary benefit is that the farms huge are carbon sinks. That said, burning wood to produce electricity is nuts if you want to reduce CO2 emissions.

  • Fat_Man

    “Private owners will obviously be tempted not to manage forests sustainably.”

    Clearly, you are not familiar with resource economics.

    • Rick Johnson

      Nor are they familiar with the impact of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. More CO2, more plant food. More plant food, more plants, like trees. It’s win win.

    • LarryD

      The experience is that privately owned (by individuals or families) forests are better managed then government or commons. Look up “The Tragedy of the Commons”.

      But shipping pelletized wood to Britain for them to use as fuel is just silly.

  • Curious Mayhem

    The privately-owned forests of the southeast ARE sustainable. They’re planted, tended, and harvested for long-term construction wood and cardboard. The worst forms of clear-cutting are unrelated to the forestry industry. They come instead from poor farmers engaged in clear-cutting to open arable land, something that stopped in the US decades ago. (It still goes on in poorer countries.) The “experts” quoted here are massively ignorant. Has any of these people ever been in a poor country around a primitive wood stove?

    No one seems to get that switching to coal and then petroleum, driven by efficiency, cost, and thermodynamics, was also a major environmental plus. There’s no way modern civilization could have been powered by burning wood. Everyone would have died from the smoke. Coal and petroleum burn more efficiently, more completely, at higher temperatures than foes wood.

    Moving back to burning wood and other biomass (at least open fires, not necessarily modern, pressurized closed furnaces) is a regression from every point of view. Why would governments ever subsidize such nonsense?

    Planting trees and other plants is the only form of “geo-engineering” that anyone should be entertaining. The other proposed forms are insane.

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